Many small businesses are confused about what social media can and cannot accomplish. While some think their company or brand will go viral simply by creating an account and sending out a few Tweets, the reality is that social media is an effective marketing tool if used correctly.
To help alleviate some of the confusion about using social media for business, the following will outline was social media is not:
- It is not easy: Setting up social media accounts are only part of the equation. This is where many companies stop in terms of the use of social software. The benefit of social media derives from how the tool is used. Effective use takes time, effort, planning, and understanding.
- It is not a short term project: Social media requires a long term commitment. It is not about setting up an account and leaving it dormant. Be prepared to experiment and frequently change how social media tools are used.
- It will not produce quick results: Just like any PR or marketing campaign, results develop over time, as effectiveness is measured and use of the tools is refined.
- It is not a replacement for marketing, PR or SEO: Social media supports a company’s marketing, PR, and SEO functions. It is not a standalone strategy. Use social media in conjunction with these other business initiates.
- It is not free: Social media requires considerable time to use effectively. It must be updated, content must be created, companies have to stay on top of new trends and requests and comments must be responded to. Companies have to people to do all of this work.
- It is not enough on its own: Companies should always base their web presence on their website. Use social media to create web traffic and attract users to the company website. Depending too much on social media can be risky, especially if a company is slow to react to the continuously evolving social media trends and usage patterns.
What do you think? What are some of the misconceptions about social media that you hear about?